Angels of Light Everything is Good Here/Please Come HomeAngels of Light Everything is Good Here/Please Come Home

Angels of Light: Everything is Good Here/Please Come Home

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Angels of Light
Everything is Good Here/Please Come Home

Genre: Alternative Rock/Folk
Year: 2003
Country: USA
Official Site: Angels of Light
Details: Tracks & Audio
Label: Young God Records

Born under the sign of the New York No Wave movement, Michael Gira's career has always transited over dangerous edges with an incredibly neat sense of balance. I'm talking about those thin lines that divide pain and pleasure, darkness and light, love and hate and on which others have eventually slipped (think of Death in June succumbing naively or ironically to the fascist temptation and embarrassing themselves with a retarded paraphernalia). After burying The Swans, Mr. Gira under multiple names/projects, has dedicated himself to further explore those territories traced in outline by The Swans. Of those, The Angels of Light is maybe the most acoustic oriented, exploring the most calm, but not less perturbing, side of Gira's wide range of musical expressions

One has the temptation of calling this a "breakthrough" album if not for the fact that almost everything Mr. Gira has done in the past two decades can be given that adjective (no shit). So, just let's say that the present album is great, as usual; and it seems to continue in many ways the exploration of the subjects of the last Angels of Light album How I loved you. Indeed, "Palisades", the album opener is a requiem just as "Evangeline" was. Starting with the sweet and metallic sound of a Lyre, Gira constructs a somber song describing with the precision of an entomologist a process of personal disintegration under the look of the bitter lover who slowly turns into some kind of post-mortem stalker. Gira's voice transforms itself vertiginously transmitting an amalgam of feelings ranging from sweetness to bitterness; it can be hateful and tender all at the same time, exploring with a tone of its own the multiple and strange manifestations of that thing called love.

It seems impossible not to mix up and deliver all these elements with the abrasive intensity that characterizes Gira's music without generating a tension that can be suffocating, but Gira and collaborators manage to balance that sensation leading ultimately to an oneiric state in songs like "All souls rising" and "Nations" which are easily the most hard moments of the album. Indeed, in the most hard moments the Angels of Light's machinery seem to accomplish a secret purpose, and despite the generous display of gigantic crescendos and saturated atmospheres, it escapes from pomposity, just narrowly a few times, but inexorably in the end.

Other remarkable moments include "Kosinski" a song in which the Angels of Light seem to take their music close to the territories of the folk-ambient, a singular region where Nick Drake's and Throbbing Gristle's music seem to co-exist, even if they never were meant to. But the music of Angels of Light resists any categorization and " What you were" is a unique, beautiful song, somewhat theatrical, in equal parts resentful and affectionate, with a crystal sound that fulfills the promise of luminosity implicit in the name of the band. Gira's voice works like a mysterious musical instrument, which seems to seize, conquer the words of his particularly brilliant songwriting that can create a whole atmosphere with few elements.

Somewhat isolated from the musical industry and ever resisting easy labeling (this is not your average Beatles or Queen tribute band, kid), Gira's work body is a multidimensional space where love and hate coexist in equal and uncontaminated proportions creating fertile ground for the ambiguity inherent to any worthy piece of art. The music, either a bare acoustic guitar or a whole combination of multiple musical instruments, tape manipulation and electronic noise, can give the impression of being calculated to excite and sometimes trouble your senses; but you'll ultimately realize that in fact it possesses its creators in the same way it conquers you. And it delivers with transparency a wide range of sensations and ultimately tells a story with the convincing voice of the real classics.

  Douglas X. Coronel-Bernal

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